The United States Virgin Islands hails the Caribbeanå‘s new marketing campaign as a success both for the region as a whole and for the islandså’ local tourism industry.
“We have been getting a lot of interest,” said USVI Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards, explaining that she has been able to link exposure to the campaign’s booking engine www.GoCaribbean.com with increased interest in the US Virgin Islands. “These are potential new customers for us…how can you say no to that? Not only are we branding the region, but the destinations are actually getting bookings out of it,” said an upbeat Richards during this month’s Caribbean Week of activities in New York.
Richards, who was one of the Caribbean’s first tourism executives to tie her destination to the regional program, said continued marketing of the Caribbean as one destination is of critical importance, given the stiff competition the region faces from “Europe, other well known destinations and even the cruise ships.” Proposals to provide sustained funding for the program are still under consideration.
“I believe the campaign was very successful in branding the Caribbean. Indeed, any effort after 10 years of silence would have made a difference, but I think that this one was well executed,” said Richards, who was especially pleased with the success of the internet marketing phase of the program.
Researchers have found Americans taking great interest in Caribbean travel and tourism offerings on www.GoCaribbean.com with the deals now offered on the home page giving good reasons for consumers to point, click and book.
Last Autumn, the Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (CHACT) launched the US$16 million campaign to market and promote the Caribbean as a single destination. The Trust, a public/private sector alliance, united major hotel chains, airlines and credit card companies with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, CARICOM and non-CARICOM nations.
GoCaribbean.com allows the region to play a full role in the entire distribution channel of Caribbean vacations, rather than just focusing on the delivery of a product. Consumers and travel agents alike can now book airlines, hotels and other Caribbean properties at bulk or heavily discounted rates.
Bookings on www.gocaribbean.com cover both vacation packages (air and hotel) and hotel room nights. Reservations also can be made by telephone using the 1-888-CARIBBEAN toll free service. More than three hundred and ninety (390) hotels, offering more than 84,500 rooms, are available for bookings.
Eighteen destinations participate in CHACT`s marketing campaign: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and the United States Virgin Islands.